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Parkdale teachers and other community members take tests Wednesday at Parkdale School as Medical Teams International and Oregon Health Authority sponsored free COVID-19 testing events last week. Testing in Cascade Locks, Parkdale and Odell, were the first by Medical Teams in Oregon involving self-administered nasal swab samples, The sites were chosen by Oregon Health Authority as a priority. Medical Teams’ Tori Stein, left, holding a fresh vial and swab, and Krista Handy of Terrebonne check on patient data in mobile devices that serve as portal for data collected on patients at the testing events. Medical Teams has done similar events throughout Washington. Samples are connected to a bar code for each patient registration. This provides important (and medically private) data for health authorities, and allows for contact to inform patients of test results. “The data (mainly age, ethnicity, gender, disability, and symptoms) will contribute a lot to our knowledge of who is positive and who is coming in for testing, and will contribute a lot to the knowledge base,” Executive Director Cindy Brill said. “Oregon is concerned with equity and that all populations are being reached.” Medical Teams tested 40 people in Cascade Locks, which spokeswoman Carmen Miller called “pretty good for a location that was off the beaten path. We had kids, families, individuals, it was all over the board,” Miller said. Testing will continue throughout Oregon in October, with an emphasis on recent fire evacuees. “One of the thing we are interested in, organizationally and as a state, is farmworker testing,” said Brill. “It’s another reason we started here in Parkdale.” 

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